Those in Iceland who say they cannot remember such a snowy December have been proven right by the Icelandic Met Office, which has released details of two records which have been broken in Reykjavík this month.
Yesterday morning the depth of snow was 33 centimetres in Reykjavík and neighbouring municipalities; which is a record. Since records began being kept in 1921 there has never been a 24 hour period in December with more snowfall over the Icelandic capital.
Intermittent snow showers continued throughout yesterday, but the Met Office predicts a change in the weather today; with initial snow, followed by sleet and eventually rain.
The forecast is for a warming trend and temperatures above zero in all lowland areas of Iceland on New Year’s Day.
Another record has also been set in the capital region, where snow has laid on the ground uninterrupted since the 26th November — the longest period of early winter snow cover since records began. It is by no means certain yet that the rise in temperatures will last long enough to stop the uninterrupted snow cover record carrying on into January.
In addition to municipal workers being busy ploughing the streets, rescue teams across Iceland have also been busy helping stuck motorists. It was snowing so hard in Reykjavík yesterday morning that some car hire companies were turning potential customers away, advising them to come back when road conditions were better.
Things are no different elsewhere in Iceland; for example in the town of Ólafsvík, on the Snæfellsnes peninsular, where snow ploughers say they have not seen snow like it for many years. Three machines worked for three hours to open the small town’s main streets to traffic, where snow had been laying on the tarmac from 40 centimetres to fully two metres deep.